Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent, 21311-21312 [2020-07734]

Download as PDF 21311 Rules and Regulations Federal Register Vol. 85, No. 75 Friday, April 17, 2020 This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510. The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD 5 CFR Part 1650 Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. ACTION: Interim rule. AGENCY: In light of emergency stay-athome and shelter-in-place orders issued all over the country, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board (FRTIB) is temporarily waiving the requirement to notarize a spouse’s signature on withdrawal election forms. DATES: This interim rule is effective April 17, 2020 and shall remain effective until withdrawn. The FRTIB will consider public comments regarding the duration of time that this rule should remain effective. Comments must be received by May 18, 2020. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments using one of the following methods: • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. • Mail: Office of General Counsel, Attn: Megan G. Grumbine, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE, Suite 1000, Washington, DC 20002. • Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (202) 942– 1676. Since March 23, 2020, the FRTIB has been operating under a mandatory telework status due to the coronavirus pandemic which has severely limited the ability to timely monitor mail and facsimiles. Therefore, we strongly encourage using the Federal Rulemaking Portal to submit comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For press inquiries, contact Kim Weaver at (202) 942–1641. For information about how to comment on this interim rule, contact Laurissa Stokes at (202) 942–1645. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 15:51 Apr 16, 2020 Jkt 250001 SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The FRTIB administers the TSP, which was established by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99–335, 100 Stat. 514. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for Federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)). A spouse of a FERS or uniformed services TSP participant has an automatic legal entitlement to a survivor annuity. Annuities are purchased with the balance of the participant’s TSP account, and such purchases are made pursuant a withdrawal election. Consequently, the default TSP withdrawal election is a joint life annuity with the 50% survivor benefit. The participant cannot make any other type of withdrawal unless the participant’s spouse signs a written statement waiving his or her entitlement to a survivor annuity. This signed, written waiver (‘‘spousal consent’’) is a statutory requirement. 5 U.S.C. 8435(b) and (c). The statute does not, however, require spousal consent to be notarized. The FRTIB Executive Director has the authority to issue regulations to administer the TSP. 5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5). In 2003, the Executive Director published a regulation requiring spousal consent to be notarized. 68 FR 74450 (December 23, 2003). Necessity and Effect of This Interim Rule The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted day-to-day life in an unprecedented way. These disruptions, which include mandatory business and school closures, stay-at-home/shelter-inplace orders, and quarantines have made it difficult and unsafe to have forms notarized in-person. States are increasingly permitting remote online notarization. As of January 1, 2020, twenty-two states had already adopted laws that enable notaries to perform remote notarizations. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, at least 21 states have issued emergency orders that accelerate the effective dates of laws that would permit remote notarization or temporarily waive certain provisions PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 of law that would otherwise impede the availability of remote notarization. The FRTIB recognizes that many TSP participants will confront extraordinary uncertainty due to rapid evolution of state laws and unfamiliarity with the technology used for remote notarization. In addition, the TSP does not currently have the technological workflow to allow participants to submit remotely notarized forms electronically. Although the FRTIB is diligently working to add this capability, it is not yet available. Under these conditions, the regulation requiring spousal consent to be notarized has become an extraordinary hurdle for married TSP participants who need to request a withdrawal during this difficult time. Therefore, the Executive Director has determined that is necessary to temporarily waive the notarization requirement for spousal consent. Only the notarization requirement is waived. Married participants must still obtain their spouse’s consent. The consent must be evidenced by the spouse’s signature (or any electronic signature alternative that the TSP has deemed sufficient to constitute written consent). Participants are reminded that any intentional false statement or willful misrepresentation concerning their marital status or provision of their spouse’s consent is punishable by fine or imprisonment of up to 5 years, or both. 18 U.S.C. 1001. Type of Rulemaking The Administrative Procedure Act, Public Law 79–404, 60 Stat. 237, generally requires that an agency publish an adopted rule in the Federal Register at least 30 days before it becomes effective in order to provide an opportunity for public comment. This requirement does not apply, however, if the agency ‘‘for good cause finds . . . that notice and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the public interest.’’ 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). Given the significant and immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on TSP participants, as discussed above, the FRTIB finds that good cause exists to dispense with notice and comment as impracticable and unnecessary, and to act immediately to amend 5 CFR part 1650. The FRTIB will, however, consider public comments regarding the duration of time that this rule shall remain effective. E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1 21312 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 75 / Friday, April 17, 2020 / Rules and Regulations Regulatory Flexibility Act I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will affect Federal employees and members of the uniformed services who participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal Employees’ Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99–335, 100 Stat. 514, and which is administered by the Agency. Paperwork Reduction Act I certify that this regulation does not require additional reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 632, 653, 1501–1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under section 1532 is not required. List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1650 Alimony, Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement. Ravindra Deo, Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board. For the reasons stated in the preamble, the FRTIB amends 5 CFR part 1650 as follows: payment change and waived the right to this annuity with respect to the applicable amount, the participant must submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, signed by his or her spouse. If the TSP granted the participant an exception to the signature requirement, the participant should enclose a copy of the TSP’s approval letter with the withdrawal form. * * * * * DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY 3. Amend § 1650.62 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows: [Docket No. R–1713] § 1650.62 Spousal rights applicable to inservice withdrawals. FEDERAL DEPOSIT INSURANCE CORPORATION ■ * * * * (c) Unless the participant was granted an exception under this subpart to the signature requirement within 90 days of the date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, before obtaining an in-service withdrawal, a participant who is covered by FERS or who is a member of the uniformed services must obtain the consent of his or her spouse and waiver of the spouse’s right to a joint and survivor annuity described in § 1650.61(c) with respect to the applicable amount. To show the spouse’s consent and waiver, a participant must submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, signed by his or her spouse. Once a form containing the spouse’s consent and waiver has been submitted to the TSP record keeper, the spouse’s consent is irrevocable for that withdrawal. [FR Doc. 2020–07734 Filed 4–16–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P 1. The authority citation for part 1650 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)5 and 8474(c)(1). 2. Amend § 1650.61 by revising paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows: ■ § 1650.61 Spousal rights applicable to post-employment withdrawals. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES * * * * * (c) * * * (4) Unless the TSP granted the participant an exception under this subpart to the spousal notification requirement within 90 days of the date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, to show that the spouse has consented to a different total or partial withdrawal election or installment 15:51 Apr 16, 2020 Jkt 250001 12 CFR Part 34 [Docket No. OCC–2020–0014] RIN 1557–AE86 FEDERAL RESERVE SYSTEM 12 CFR Part 225 RIN 7100–AF87 * PART 1650—METHODS OF WITHDRAWING FUNDS FROM THE THRIFT SAVINGS PLAN VerDate Sep<11>2014 Office of the Comptroller of the Currency PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 12 CFR Part 323 RIN 3064–AF48 Real Estate Appraisals Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Treasury (OCC); Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (Board); and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). ACTION: Interim final rule with request for comments. AGENCY: The OCC, Board, and FDIC (collectively, the agencies) are adopting an interim final rule to amend the agencies’ regulations requiring appraisals of real estate for certain transactions. The interim final rule defers the requirement to obtain an appraisal or evaluation for up to 120 days following the closing of a transaction for certain residential and commercial real estate transactions, excluding transactions for acquisition, development, and construction of real estate. Regulated institutions should make best efforts to obtain a credible valuation of real property collateral before the loan closing, and otherwise underwrite loans consistent with the principles in the agencies’ Standards for Safety and Soundness and Real Estate Lending Standards. The agencies are providing this relief to allow regulated institutions to expeditiously extend liquidity to creditworthy households and businesses in light of recent strains on the U.S. economy as a result of the National Emergency declared in connection with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID–19). DATES: The interim final rule is effective April 17, 2020 through December 31, 2020. Comments on the interim final rule must be received no later than June 1, 2020. ADDRESSES: Interested parties are encouraged to submit written comments SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17APR1.SGM 17APR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 75 (Friday, April 17, 2020)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 21311-21312]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-07734]



========================================================================
Rules and Regulations
                                                Federal Register
________________________________________________________________________

This section of the FEDERAL REGISTER contains regulatory documents 
having general applicability and legal effect, most of which are keyed 
to and codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, which is published 
under 50 titles pursuant to 44 U.S.C. 1510.

The Code of Federal Regulations is sold by the Superintendent of Documents. 

========================================================================


Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 75 / Friday, April 17, 2020 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 21311]]



FEDERAL RETIREMENT THRIFT INVESTMENT BOARD

5 CFR Part 1650


Temporary Waiver of Notarization Requirement for Spousal Consent

AGENCY: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

ACTION: Interim rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: In light of emergency stay-at-home and shelter-in-place orders 
issued all over the country, the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment 
Board (FRTIB) is temporarily waiving the requirement to notarize a 
spouse's signature on withdrawal election forms.

DATES: This interim rule is effective April 17, 2020 and shall remain 
effective until withdrawn. The FRTIB will consider public comments 
regarding the duration of time that this rule should remain effective. 
Comments must be received by May 18, 2020.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments using one of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments.
     Mail: Office of General Counsel, Attn: Megan G. Grumbine, 
Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, 77 K Street NE, Suite 1000, 
Washington, DC 20002.
     Facsimile: Comments may be submitted by facsimile at (202) 
942-1676.
    Since March 23, 2020, the FRTIB has been operating under a 
mandatory telework status due to the coronavirus pandemic which has 
severely limited the ability to timely monitor mail and facsimiles. 
Therefore, we strongly encourage using the Federal Rulemaking Portal to 
submit comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
    For press inquiries, contact Kim Weaver at (202) 942-1641.
    For information about how to comment on this interim rule, contact 
Laurissa Stokes at (202) 942-1645.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The FRTIB administers the TSP, which was established by the Federal 
Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 
100 Stat. 514. The TSP is a tax-deferred retirement savings plan for 
Federal civilian employees and members of the uniformed services. The 
TSP is similar to cash or deferred arrangements established for 
private-sector employees under section 401(k) of the Internal Revenue 
Code (26 U.S.C. 401(k)).
    A spouse of a FERS or uniformed services TSP participant has an 
automatic legal entitlement to a survivor annuity. Annuities are 
purchased with the balance of the participant's TSP account, and such 
purchases are made pursuant a withdrawal election. Consequently, the 
default TSP withdrawal election is a joint life annuity with the 50% 
survivor benefit. The participant cannot make any other type of 
withdrawal unless the participant's spouse signs a written statement 
waiving his or her entitlement to a survivor annuity. This signed, 
written waiver (``spousal consent'') is a statutory requirement. 5 
U.S.C. 8435(b) and (c). The statute does not, however, require spousal 
consent to be notarized.
    The FRTIB Executive Director has the authority to issue regulations 
to administer the TSP. 5 U.S.C. 8474(b)(5). In 2003, the Executive 
Director published a regulation requiring spousal consent to be 
notarized. 68 FR 74450 (December 23, 2003).

Necessity and Effect of This Interim Rule

    The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted day-to-day life in an 
unprecedented way. These disruptions, which include mandatory business 
and school closures, stay-at-home/shelter-in-place orders, and 
quarantines have made it difficult and unsafe to have forms notarized 
in-person.
    States are increasingly permitting remote online notarization. As 
of January 1, 2020, twenty-two states had already adopted laws that 
enable notaries to perform remote notarizations. In response to the 
coronavirus pandemic, at least 21 states have issued emergency orders 
that accelerate the effective dates of laws that would permit remote 
notarization or temporarily waive certain provisions of law that would 
otherwise impede the availability of remote notarization.
    The FRTIB recognizes that many TSP participants will confront 
extraordinary uncertainty due to rapid evolution of state laws and 
unfamiliarity with the technology used for remote notarization. In 
addition, the TSP does not currently have the technological workflow to 
allow participants to submit remotely notarized forms electronically. 
Although the FRTIB is diligently working to add this capability, it is 
not yet available.
    Under these conditions, the regulation requiring spousal consent to 
be notarized has become an extraordinary hurdle for married TSP 
participants who need to request a withdrawal during this difficult 
time. Therefore, the Executive Director has determined that is 
necessary to temporarily waive the notarization requirement for spousal 
consent.
    Only the notarization requirement is waived. Married participants 
must still obtain their spouse's consent. The consent must be evidenced 
by the spouse's signature (or any electronic signature alternative that 
the TSP has deemed sufficient to constitute written consent). 
Participants are reminded that any intentional false statement or 
willful misrepresentation concerning their marital status or provision 
of their spouse's consent is punishable by fine or imprisonment of up 
to 5 years, or both. 18 U.S.C. 1001.

Type of Rulemaking

    The Administrative Procedure Act, Public Law 79-404, 60 Stat. 237, 
generally requires that an agency publish an adopted rule in the 
Federal Register at least 30 days before it becomes effective in order 
to provide an opportunity for public comment. This requirement does not 
apply, however, if the agency ``for good cause finds . . . that notice 
and public procedure are impracticable, unnecessary, or contrary to the 
public interest.'' 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(3)(B). Given the significant and 
immediate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on TSP participants, as 
discussed above, the FRTIB finds that good cause exists to dispense 
with notice and comment as impracticable and unnecessary, and to act 
immediately to amend 5 CFR part 1650. The FRTIB will, however, consider 
public comments regarding the duration of time that this rule shall 
remain effective.

[[Page 21312]]

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    I certify that this regulation will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities. This regulation will 
affect Federal employees and members of the uniformed services who 
participate in the Thrift Savings Plan, which is a Federal defined 
contribution retirement savings plan created under the Federal 
Employees' Retirement System Act of 1986 (FERSA), Public Law 99-335, 
100 Stat. 514, and which is administered by the Agency.

Paperwork Reduction Act

    I certify that this regulation does not require additional 
reporting under the criteria of the Paperwork Reduction Act.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    Pursuant to the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 602, 
632, 653, 1501-1571, the effects of this regulation on state, local, 
and tribal governments and the private sector have been assessed. This 
regulation will not compel the expenditure in any one year of $100 
million or more by state, local, and tribal governments, in the 
aggregate, or by the private sector. Therefore, a statement under 
section 1532 is not required.

List of Subjects in 5 CFR Part 1650

    Alimony, Claims, Government employees, Pensions, Retirement.

Ravindra Deo,
Executive Director, Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the FRTIB amends 5 CFR part 
1650 as follows:

PART 1650--METHODS OF WITHDRAWING FUNDS FROM THE THRIFT SAVINGS 
PLAN

0
1. The authority citation for part 1650 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 8351, 8432d, 8433, 8434, 8435, 8474(b)5 and 
8474(c)(1).


0
2. Amend Sec.  1650.61 by revising paragraph (c)(4) to read as follows:


Sec.  1650.61  Spousal rights applicable to post-employment 
withdrawals.

* * * * *
    (c) * * *
    (4) Unless the TSP granted the participant an exception under this 
subpart to the spousal notification requirement within 90 days of the 
date the withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, to show that the 
spouse has consented to a different total or partial withdrawal 
election or installment payment change and waived the right to this 
annuity with respect to the applicable amount, the participant must 
submit to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request 
form, signed by his or her spouse. If the TSP granted the participant 
an exception to the signature requirement, the participant should 
enclose a copy of the TSP's approval letter with the withdrawal form.
* * * * *

0
3. Amend Sec.  1650.62 by revising paragraph (c) to read as follows:


Sec.  1650.62  Spousal rights applicable to in-service withdrawals.

* * * * *
    (c) Unless the participant was granted an exception under this 
subpart to the signature requirement within 90 days of the date the 
withdrawal form is processed by the TSP, before obtaining an in-service 
withdrawal, a participant who is covered by FERS or who is a member of 
the uniformed services must obtain the consent of his or her spouse and 
waiver of the spouse's right to a joint and survivor annuity described 
in Sec.  1650.61(c) with respect to the applicable amount.
    To show the spouse's consent and waiver, a participant must submit 
to the TSP record keeper a properly completed withdrawal request form, 
signed by his or her spouse. Once a form containing the spouse's 
consent and waiver has been submitted to the TSP record keeper, the 
spouse's consent is irrevocable for that withdrawal.

[FR Doc. 2020-07734 Filed 4-16-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE P